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Leading a colorful memorial service for Ethan Johnson atop their stilts, Mark Safford, Anne Sawyer and Malia Burkhart crossed the Washington Avenue bridge on Wednesday evening. Johnson, a U scientist, musician and puppeteer, was killed in a hit-and-run crash late last month.

Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Much more than just mourning a life cut short

  • October 13, 2010 - 9:22 PM

A woman on stilts twirling a parasol, a bike shaped like a giant fish, a brass band, a canoe, banners, flowers. Such were the makings Wednesday evening of a memorial procession for Ethan T. Johnson, a University of Minnesota scientist who died Sept. 21 after a hit-and-run crash in south Minneapolis.

The procession crossed the Washington Avenue bridge on its way to the Cedar Cultural Center, where Johnson's friends and family planned an evening of remembrances, music and dancing.

"It's really about celebrating more at this point than mourning," said a neighbor and friend, Allen Christian.

"He was a vital force, and these are the people he touched." Johnson's ashes were carried near the front of the procession, which included his family and some 200 friends, the Brass Messengers band he played for and members of a local street puppet-making community in which he was a member.

MATT MCKINNEY

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